Tuesday, January 09, 2001

What's in the news?

I saw two interesting articles in the Hebrew papers.

The first, which I am sure will get world coverage is the approximately 300,000 who came from all over the country to demonstrate for a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovreignity. We are often numbed by numbers - but I thought it worth pointing out the magnitude of this. On a normal workday, 5% of Israel's population turned out to show their support for a united Jerusalem. This number is HUGE. If you take out the babies, Arabs, Druze & Beduins from the population statistics and extrapolate the support to all those who don't like demonstrations, were working, were looking after children, were too young to go without the working parent attending, live too far away, are aged or infirm, etc. you begin to understand the size of the real grass roots Jewish objection to the division of Jerusalem. No I wasn't there - I don't like demonstrations too much, was working - and might even be willing to give away parts of (East) Jerusalem if there was any real chance of peace. One of my daughters (18) was there, another (14) we didn't let go (over strong objections) because she is too young in our view to attend a demonstration where one never knows how the crowd will react and a third (20) was working at her National Service post. Rochelle (my wife) was looking after the other 2 smaller children - and so we didn't even discuss whether she would go if she had a chance. This might give a personal feel of the dynamics. Even without all of this, what cause brings out 5% of a whole nation? This is a bit like 14 million Americans standing in the street to protest against something the Black population strongly supported. I am not sure that the world will understand this. Something I noticed was the news report on the local TV, which headed with film of what was an orderly peaceful demonstration of every day citizens. A couple of items later was footage of a small demonstration in the Palestinian authority of masked men brandishing weapons, and shooting bullets in the air. It was quite a contrast.

The second is a report which I am sure that the world media will ignore. Entitled "(Palestinian) Authority Responsible for Approximately 80% of the Attacks" the article tells that Israeli security forces have information showing that 70 - 80% of all attacks against Israelis since the start of the current disturbances have been performed by the Palestininan Authority security forces, or the Tanzim (which CNN describes as a militia movement affiliated with Arafat's Fatah Faction). As far as the Tanzim goes, I note that whenever one of their officials are revealed, they seem to be a member of the official Palestinian security forces in one form or another. Despite the world media attempt to differentiate between the Palestinian authority and "terrorists", we at least should be aware that they are one and the same. I guess that is one of the reasons that I feel guilty for not joining the Jerusalem demonstration. Even if I could give up parts of Jerusalem for the sake of peace, why would I do so to my sworn enemy who is just looking for a chance to push me into the sea - or put a bullet in my head?

Those of you who subscribe to www.honestreporting.net will have gotten a request to respond to specific media reports lumping the killing of the "extremist" Meir Kahane and his wife together with Thabet Thabet, the "Palestinian activist who was killed outside his home". (Thabet was secretary general of the Tanzim in the Tul Karm area and personally ordered the attack last month near Shevei Shomron in which two Israeli civilians and two soldiers were wounded, one seriously. Thabet was also responsible for numerous other shooting attacks by Fatah activists in the area, and was involved in planning bombing attacks.)


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